In Libyan Airspace


The French airforce is apparently in the skies over Libya:

French Mirage and Rafale fighters are flying over Benghazi and could strike at Gaddafi's tanks, AP quotes an official from Sarkozy's government as saying.

And the battle for Benghazi rages on:

In a telephone interview from Benghazi on Saturday morning, a rebel fighter who gave his name as Monsour said there was heavy fighting in the west of the city. He said he had seen 12 tanks from the Qaddafi forces moving through the city. Qaddafi snipers were atop the Foreign Ministry building, not far from the courthouse that is the de facto rebel headquarters, and there was fighting along Gamel Abdul Nasser street nearby as well. The government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, denied in Tripoli that pro-Qaddafi units were attacking in Benghazi and said that only the rebels had an incentive to break the cease-fire.

Earlier, the BBC also reported that tanks were in the city on Saturday morning. After the report, the BBC Web site was inaccessible in Tripoli, suggesting that it may have been blocked.

The photograph above shows a downed fighter plane. No one knows which side the plane was on, who shot it down, or how. Meanwhile, in Paris, the UN communique reveals:

Our commitment is for the long term: we will not let Colonel Gaddafi and his regime go on defying the will of the international community and scorning that of his people.

My italics. My fear is that interventions that promise to follow through for the long term essentially mean Western ownership or protection of an entire country. This is a vast responsibility, which now cannot be abandoned.

Welcome to the latest addition to the US's set of global responsibilities: Libya. Yes: Libya.

(Photo: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty.)